When it comes to memorable meals, this one is difficult to beat. It all began when a young couple was out for dinner in Boston about three years ago. They were young, in love, and it showed.
According to Richard Branson, who tells the tale on his blog at Virgin.com, a generous man by the name of Pankaj Shah was dining there as well. He had the wonderful habit of anonymously paying for people's meals when he was dining out. On that particular night, he asked restaurant staff to find "the couple who looked most in love."
They did, and Shah went on about his way, probably never giving them too much more thought beyond hopes that they enjoyed the meal. But when he returned to Boston three years later, something really amazing happened.
He went back to the restaurant to eat, and the manager came up and told him that the same couple he had paid for three years ago was there again, right then. What a coincidence, right?!
The manager said he knew it was them because the "dude just got down on one knee and proposed." When he asked them why they'd chosen that particular restaurant, he said:
The guy said they were sitting at that same table three years ago and some stranger paid for their meal and made them think about kindness and love and they’ve been talking about it ever since. They’ve incorporated it into their lives and said there was no other place he could have proposed, it was their most impactful memory.
Do you have goosebumps? I sure do. While the couple has remained anonymous themselves so far, according to Branson, they did invite Shah to their wedding.
I love this story for so many reasons. First, just the fact that they were there enjoying a meal with no expectations of anything but paying their bill when all of a sudden a kind stranger swoops in and makes it amazing. Regardless of your financial situation, that has to be such an amazing, unexpected treat. There aren't many true (good) surprises in life once you're an adult, and this surely has to be one of them. I so want to do this for someone sometime.
Also, there are so many unfortunate stories that happen in restaurants these days it seems. From servers calling people offensive names on their bills to patrons who refuse to tip for the jerkiest of reasons. But the fact is that while these stories make headlines, most people dine out and have perfectly lovely experiences. Maybe not as lovely as the one this couple had, but still it's not as bad out there as it sometimes seems. In fact, it can be quite amazing.
Has anyone ever anonymously bought you a meal at a restaurant? Have you ever purchased one for someone else?
Image via nlmAdestiny/Flickr